Ever wondered what a Product Manager does each day? In the first installment of our “A day in the life of” series, we asked our Product Manager Alla what it’s like to make new features for our mobile app.
9:30am – I like to start the morning with a red bean bun from the nearby Tanjong Pagar Market. It’s a new taste and something I have never had in my home country of Ukraine and I like it for its sweet paste.
10:00am – Carousell’s work day officially starts at ten, and most people come in at this time. I review my notes from the day before and start organising my priorities for the day. This takes me about 15 minutes, and I also do a quick catch up with J3, the Engineering Manager I’m currently paired with for my product projects.
J3 (yes, that’s how he likes us to call him and it’s an interesting story that he can tell you himself) joined us recently from the Philippines, and he’s brought in a lot of structure to our workflow. We go through timelines, make sure our work does not delay the workflow for other teams, and other fun stuff like that. Yes, fun stuff!
Sometime around now I’ll catch up with Suganth, a product designer who is basically my brother-from-another-mother despite being born and raised in India. From this point on, the two of us will likely be working closely together for the rest of the day. He’ll also try to convince me to watch Star Wars, but I’ve learnt to filter that out.
That’s the basic structure of our teams: a Product Manager, a Designer, a group of engineers with a variety of skills led by an Engineer Manager, and a Data Analyst. We work on our projects with this structure, and it works out well for us.
11:00am – It’s standup time, and this is basically the whole team getting together and standing in a circle to trade jokes. Actually, it’s about sharing our goals for the day. It’s nice to know what each other is doing, because it keeps us focused on how we’re all contributing towards the same goal.
1:00pm – We usually have lunch in groups as much as possible. There are quite a number of people in Product and Engineering teams – I think we’ve got about 40+ right now.
I guess this is a good time to talk about how diverse it is here. Product is headed by Andrius, who is from Lithuania, and we’ve also got people from the US, Taiwan and of course, Singapore. Just the Product team itself has six different people from six different countries – the new Product Manager from France that starts next week will bring this up to seven! I’m told Carousell now has more than 130 people across 17 nationalities! The spectrum of backgrounds and experiences within the team is really refreshing and delightful.
Most days we buy lunch back and eat in the pantry, which resembles recess hour in a school canteen. The pantry in the new office is pretty spacious and has these large windows that let in so much natural light, so we just make the most of it.
90% of our lunch time conversation involves making jokes about Dave, one of the engineers – We all love him! I’ve noticed that although our accents are all different, laughter from every culture sounds the same.
2:00pm – I check my inbox for the first time in the day. I usually go through emails just before or after lunch, depending on my schedule of meetings. I work through them for about an hour before a meeting on sprint planning on seller services.
3:00pm – This is when we have our sprint meeting. Sprints aren’t actually about running up and down the office open spaces. These meetings focus on our priorities for the next two weeks, so we know what’s coming up and what we’re planning to deliver.
5:00pm – Next is an interview with users on upcoming product features. This isn’t an everyday thing, but now and then we like to invite a handful of people to our office to test design prototypes, and observe how users interact with the new user interface and features.
Sometimes, actual user behaviour differs greatly from our planned user journey, so this process gives us incredible insight and data in the fine-tuning of our product features before we roll them out to millions of other Carousell users around the world. Discovering how people interact with what you’ve planned and designed is my favourite part of the job.
There’s this popular image I keep seeing on the Internet that sums up what this is like:
7:00pm – I go through my emails again to address pressing emails. The office is slightly quieter now, and I take this time to finish any outstanding work. There’s always lots to be done because Carousell is “product-first”, which means we prioritise features that makes buying and selling simpler and more effective for our users.
It might sound like there’s a lot to do, but it’s okay because you can really feel the impact of what you do. I love seeing people use our app while riding on the train, and when people are delighted by our new features making things better for them. That feeling that I’m making a difference is totally worth it!
Interested in working for Carousell? Check out openings in the Product team and other roles at Carousell by visiting our Careers page!